Tag Archives | North Korea

Images Released Of North Korean Heir Kim Jong Un

New images have been captured of Kim Jong Un, the son of Kim Jong Il, and the new heir in North Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The first public images of Kim Jong Un as an adult, released Thursday by North Korean state media, showed the son of dictator Kim Jong Il bearing a striking resemblance to his father and grandfather, putting to rest one of the biggest mysteries about the nation’s heir apparent—what he looks like today.

The younger Kim, believed to be 26 or 27 years old, stood out in sea of older faces in video images and a photo of top North Korean officials taken Tuesday at a meeting of more than 1,000 representatives of the ruling Workers’ Party.

[continues at The Wall Street Journal]

Via Associated Press:

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Kim Jong Il Names Son As Successor, But Who Is He?

This will be the third member of the family to take over the position, but Kim Jong Il’s youngest son is a mysterious one. There isn’t must information about him, other than he is in his twenties and went to school in Switzerland. With the lack of information being provided (not that it’s anything new for N. Korea) it allows room to question if this is his son at all or someone standing in as his son as a way to keep the leadership in the family. PBS News Hour reports:

A major conference of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang has raised the expectation of a handover of power from Kim Jong Il to his youngest son.

The transition appears to have been underway for months. In June, Kim (pictured at right) promoted his brother in law to a top leadership post and made other Cabinet changes in what many considered preparation for turning over the government to his youngest son Kim Jong Un.

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North Korea Tweets

koreatweetAfter the launch of North Korea’s YouTube channel (majority of which are postings of government propaganda) the country has created a Twitter account. It’s nice to see that North Korea is taking a steps towards joining the global internet community, next step, joining the rest of the global community. BBC News reports:

Last Thursday, the North Koreans created a Twitter account – @uriminzok, a shortened version of a Korean word that translates as “our people”.

It already has more than 4,500 followers.

The move to Twitter follows last month’s launch of a North Korean YouTube channel, which now hosts close to 80 videos.

“The North Koreans are technologically literate,” says Hazel Smith, a long-time North Korea researcher at Cranfield University in Britain.

Ms Smith says that the North Koreans have been investing heavily in information technology now for more than 20 years.

“They have a cadre of people who can use modern social networking sites.

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Robot Border Patrol at DMZ

croppedkoreanrobot_1

Photo: Samsung Techwin, SGR-1 gun bot

South Korea has begun using robots to survey and, if necessary, fire at intruders crossing the DMZ line from the North. It is operated by soldiers who verify intruders through audio visual equipment. It is designed to “detect threats,” but with the reliance on human operation, there is just as much room for error as a solider standing guard. From the Telegraph:

The 400 million won (£220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

South Korea is also developing highly sophisticated combat robots armed with weapons and sensors that could complement human soldiers on battlefields.

The robot uses heat and motion detectors to sense possible threats, and alerts command centres, Yonhap said.

If the command centre operator cannot identify possible intruders through the robot’s audio or video communications system, the operator can order it to fire its gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

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Pranksters Vote Bieber to North Korea

16 year-old Justin Bieber jumped into the music scene as a heartthrob for young girls. His popularity was the first thing that was hard to understand. Then, although he is a teenage white boy, he was nominated for a BET award.  Now it seems that the public have created their own “unbelievable” news about him, they’ve voted for him to go to North Korea.  AFP via Raw Story reports:

An online contest to decide where Canadian pop star Justin Bieber should go on tour next has been hijacked by a Web prank group that has been encouraging voters to send him to North Korea.

With just a few hours left to vote, North Korea was the top vote-getter on Tuesday in the “My World Tour” contest with more than 625,000 votes, followed by Israel with 608,000 votes and Poland with 513,073 votes.

According to the BBC, the campaign to garner votes for an unlikely tour to notoriously isolated North Korea by the 16-year-old singing sensation was launched by users of the Internet bulletin board 4chan.

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Are North Korea’s “World Cup Fans” Hired Chinese Actors?

korea-fans415Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:

Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.

Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.

Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.

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Fire On the Bayou; Conspiracy, Prophecy, and Dropping the Bomb on the Big Oozy

Anchor handling tugs battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Anchor handling tugs battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Disinfo visitor Shawn M alerted us to a New Orleans blog that raises some ideas on the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster we hadn’t heard before, such as a North Korean submarine being responsible for blowing up the rig. Conspiracy theories: we’ve got ‘em! From Big Medicine:

Strange days here in the Big Easy. Life goes on as normal, we still feel our Who Dat high from winning the Super Bowl, we have our new Mayor and the post Jazzfest hangover is gone. But looming like Katrina’s big brother offshore is the Big Oozy, the mega disaster that will impact the planet for generations. One scans the news, local and national and it doesn’t seem to be the Big story. Celeb antics, political gesturing and plain fluff obscures from the minds of men the massive event playing out miles off our coast.

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North Korea’s Comics

An article from The Diplomat examines North Korean comics and animation, produced and sold by the government for the purpose of teaching lessons to the nation’s children:

The books are designed to instill the Juche philosophy of Kim Il-sung (the ‘father’ of North Korea)—radical self-reliance of the state. The plots brim with propaganda, featuring scheming capitalists from the United States and Japan who create dilemmas for naïve North Korean characters.

In almost every cartoon, those who stay faithful to Juche have happy endings; the others aren’t so lucky. The villains fit outlandish stereotypes. Americans are usually depicted with big noses, German Nazis as wearing swastikas and Japanese with glasses and buck teeth.

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North Korea ‘Panic’ After Surprise Currency Revaluation

From The Guardian:

North Korea‘s surprise decision to redenominate its currency has prompted panic and despair among merchants left with piles of worthless notes, even driving one couple to suicide, activists said today.

North Korea informed citizens and foreign embassies on Monday that it would redenominate its national currency, the won, diplomats said. Residents in the reclusive communist state were told they have until Sunday to exchange a limited amount of old bills, they said.

The news sent Pyongyang residents rushing to the black market to convert hoarded bills into US dollars and Chinese yuan, South Korea‘s Yonhap news agency reported, citing unidentified North Korean traders operating in neighbouring China.

Shops, bathhouses, barber shops and restaurants have closed, activists said.

“We heard business and market activities were all suspended,” said Lee Seung-yong, an official at Good Friends, a Seoul-based civic group that sends food and other aid to North Korea.

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